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Brain Drain In Nigeria: Causes, Effects and Solutions


In this article, I will comprehensively discuss the problem of brain drain in Nigeria. We will be looking precisely on the causes, effects and solutions to brain drain in Nigeria. I enjoin you to read this article painstakingly, as i will disclose everything you need to know about brain drain in Nigeria.

Brain drain causes, effects and solutions in Nigeria

Brain drain is one of the most destructive problems of Nigeria. It is the major cause of underdevelopment, loss of task revenue and lack of skilled workers in Nigeria. Apparently, brain drain has gotten to its apex in Nigeria. This is because, the Nigerian government did nothing to curb this problem in the past.

Today, Nigerians cannot boastfully assert that they have professionals in their sectors (Even though they do) because of brain drain. That notwithstanding, this article is going to explicitly highlight the causes, effects and cogent solutions to the problem of brain in Nigeria. Meanwhile, I would like you to first understand what brain drain in Nigeria really mean.

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Definition of brain drain

Brain drain is the process in which educated, skilled and highly talented people in a particular country, move to other countries through migration with the sole purpose of finding a favorable environment for themselves. Since brain drain is basically to find a favorable environment, migration is mostly from less developed countries to more developed ones.

According to some Nigerian Economists, Brain drain can also be defined as the loss of academic and technological labor force through the moving of human capital to more favorable geographic, economic, or professional environments.

Having known the definition of brain drain, we will continue by looking at the various causes of brain drain in Nigeria. In other words, i will be highlighting the reasons why educated, skilled and highly talented people leave Nigeria to other countries.

What are the effects of brain drain in Nigerian economy

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Causes of brain drain in Nigeria

  • The search for a better life.
  • Political instability.
  • Low salary/wage.
  • Poor working condition.
  • Discrimination.
  • Lack of social amenities.
  • Lack of patriotism.

That is a list of the the major causes of brain drain in Nigeria. As we continue, i will broadly discuss each of the causes of brain drain stated above.

The Search for a better life:

No doubt, the search for a better life, is one of the causes of brain drain in Nigeria. It is the major reason why educated, skilled and highly talented people leave Nigeria to other countries. You will agree with me that there is no body in Nigeria who don’t want a comfortable life. Everybody wants to become successful and rich someday; but when this dream of becoming successful is limited by the country or state they reside, people will definitely migrate to a better place.

For example, it is clear that one of the reasons why Nigeria lacks professional doctors in the medical sector, is not because Nigerian students are not intelligent, but because the salary and incentive given to doctors in Nigeria, is very low. Thus, doctors are left with no other choice but to migrate to better country where they will be paid heavily.

Political instability:

Political instability is another cause of brain drain in Nigeria. Nigeria’s political system is one which is known for crisis and chaos. The Nigerian government often pay less attention to the needs of citizens and development of the country. This has indirectly led to an increase in the rate of brain drain in Nigeria.

Brain drain in Nigerian economy

A recent happening that clearly explains this, was the 2015 presidential election conducted in Nigeria. During that time, most people migrated from Nigeria to other countries because they wanted to keep themselves safe from all the killings and social vices that went on in the country.

It is evident that after the election, most educated and highly skilled people who left the country, never came back to Nigeria. They must have found a better country to stay, than coming back to a place where irregularities are normal.

Low salary/wage:

This is also one of the most contributing causes of brain drain in Nigeria. It is undoubtedly true that Nigerian workers are paid very low. In a country like Nigeria, where minimum wage is N18,000 (Eighteen thousand Naira); why would skilled and educated workers not migrate to a better country?

Well, this has been one of the major causes of brain drain in Nigeria, but many scholars have failed to recognize it. Lets take for instance, if a nurse in Nigeria is paid a minimum salary of N40,000 and he/she knows of another country that pays up to N97,000, where do you think the nurse will want to work? No doubt, the N97,000 is more preferable.

Poor working condition:

The poor working condition provided for most Nigerian workers has also contributed greatly to the increase in brain drain rate in this country. From a poll conducted in Nigeria 2years ago, 67% of Nigerian workers preferred working in developed countries because of their good and conducive working environment.

Currently, 89% government owned teaching staff rooms all over Nigeria are dilapidated. For this reason, most Nigerian teachers aspire to work in other countries, where there is a better working condition. I do not blame teachers for this because, the working condition of a job play a significant role in the increase of labor quality.


Discrimination, tribalism and nepotism are great contributors to brain drain in Nigeria too. It has been confirmed that one of the causes of unemployment in Nigeria is discrimination. In fact, it is prevalently known in Nigeria, that a person can not get employed into any prestigious company or business organization except he/she knows somebody there.

Causes of brain drain in Nigeria

For this reason, young graduates who really know what they are doing, but don’t have anybody to help them, migrate from the country or state so that they can be employed. This has indeed, caused many educated and highly skilled people to migrate, since the country has no place for them to stay.

Lack of social amenities:

In Nigeria, people suffer as a result of bad water supply, poor electricity supply and most importantly, lack of good schools. These are the necessities of the citizens of every nation. When they are not provided, rich people will love to send their children to study abroad. More often than not, those students who were sent to study outside the country, don’t return back to Nigeria.

More so, the lack of social amenities like: libraries, school research center etc, makes Local researchers, scientists and scholars to migrate to other nations, since they do not have enough working facilities in their own country.

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Lack of patriotism:

Having stated some of the cogent reasons for brain drain in Nigeria, we must not forget that the lack of patriotism is another cause of brain drain in Nigeria. Sometimes, the reason why intelligent and skilled people in Nigeria; migrate to other nations is not because the government failed to do their job. It is because; most of the people who migrate are not patriotic or ready to serve their nation. They prefer doing their work in other counties than theirs.

Lack of patriotism is obviously a big problem in Nigeria. Apart from brain drain, lack of patriotism among Nigerians contributes negatively to the growth and development of Nigeria. If Nigerians can love and cherish their own country, they will go a long way to curb the problem of brain drain in Nigeria.

Now that you have seen the various causes of brain drain in Nigeria, I will clearly explain the divergent effects of brain drain in Nigeria, if nothing is done by the Nigerian government to drastically reduce it increase.

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Effects of brain drain in Nigeria

  • Dearth of professionals.
  • Increase in death rate.
  • Poor economic development.
  • Decrease in innovative ideas and technological advancements.

Dearth of professionals:

If brain drain continues in Nigeria, it will definitely get to a point when there will be no professionals in the different sectors of Nigeria. This is largely true, as it has been confirmed that most of the education and highly skilled people who migrate to other nations will not return.

Thus, brain drain will lead to the dearth of professionals in Nigeria. At this point, there will be no one good teachers, lawyers, nursing or even doctors to take care of sick patients in hospitals.

Increase in death rate:

Just imagine Nigeria with no professional doctor, no capable nurse, no effective accountant, no professional lawyer etc. The death rate in the country will certainly double itself.

Apart from this, there will be a large increase in legal cases decided per incuriam (in error) in Nigerian law courts, thereby leading to a large increase in the number of people who die for what they know nothing about. It may sound impossible, but trust me; this has been confirmed to be one most dangerous effects of brain drain in any country (If it continues).

Poor economic development:

The most significant contributors to the growth and development of a country, are the educated, skilled and talented people. They play major role in boosting any country economically. But when these people are no more, development will be very difficult because, the country is left with only the poor and unintelligent people.

Aside destroying the